Earlier today at the EDION Arena Osaka fans were able to see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (22-8-4, 10) [奥本 貴之] narrowly retain his title, with a majority decision win over mandatory challenger Yuta Matsuo (15-4-1, 8) [松尾雄太].
The fight saw Matsuo press the action early on, bringing the heat to the champion who tried to use his footwork and jab to gain control of the action. It was a nice boxing from Okumoto but it did little to force Matsuo to back off, and instead Matsuo tightened his guard and pressed with more intensity, looking to get inside and get his hooks into play. Okumoto realised he had to up his work and did well, putting more snap on his shots.
A headclash in round 5 saw blood being introduced into the bout, but it played little into the overall fight, which was really finely balanced when the scores were announced the following round. The opening scoring was 48-47 to Okumoto, twice, and 48-47 to Matsuo, giving us a wonderfully balanced bout as we entered the second half.
The second half of the fight saw Matsuo again look to be the man pressuring but Okumoto handled it well, forcing the challenger to back off, using his speed to land and get away. It was what Matsuo was needing to break away but Matsuo refused to roll over an lose, picking up his own pace in round 9.
It felt like Okumoto had perhaps just done enough to gain the lead as we entered the final round, but neither seemed confident and they both went for it in a thrilling final 3 minutes. It was the best round of the fight, and was chaotic action with neither confident of the win and wanting to land shots that could secure their victory.
With neither man having been down and the action being very much tit for tat it was clear the scores were going to be close and could have gone either way. One judge scored it 95-95, a draw, the second 96-94 to Okumoto whilst the third had it 97-93 to Okumoto, who successfully made his second defense of the belt.
Matsuo will come again, and we suspect he'll get another shot sooner rather than later. This experience will do him the world of good, despite losing. As for Okumoto we don't imagine his reign will last long, and these close bouts he's been having, this is the third successive ultra-close bout he's had, will catch up with him sooner or later.
Tomorrow fight fans in Osaka will be able to see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-4, 10) [奥本 貴之] defending his title against mandatory challenger Yuta Matsuo (15-3-1, 8) [松尾雄太].
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in, and both came in comfortably under the 115lbs limit.
On the scales the champion was 114.4lbs, well under the limit, whilst the challenger was slightly heavier, at around 114.7lbs. Despite both being comfortably under the limit neither looked like they had over drained and in fact both men looked in excellent condition and calm for their first bout of 2019.
Related - Okumoto hunts next defense, takes on mandatory Matsuo
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Yesterday in Osaka the Green Tsuda gym held an event to talk about two upcoming Japanese title defenses.
The match ups in question were the Japanese Super Flyweight title bout between defending champion Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-4, 10) [奥本 貴之] and mandatory challenger Yuta Matsuo (15-3-1, 8) [松尾雄太] and the Japanese Welterweight title bout, between hard hitting champion Ryota Yada (18-4, 15) [矢田良太] and his mandatory challenger Yuki Nagano (15-2, 11) [永野祐樹].
Okumoto and Yada, who are both from the Green Tsuda Gym, attended the event and spoke in front of 150 people at the event.
Yada, who was dressed in a pink suit and relied on his sense of humour at the event, revealed that he had been sparring Filipino southpaws to prepare for Nagano. Okumoto seemed more reserved in his comments, but stated that he was going to have a fun fight.
It was also stated by the gym chairman that the long term hope is to not only win these upcoming defenses, but also move towards increasing the gym's profile and moving towards world title bouts.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today at the Tokyo Dome Hotel the media were able to attend the press conference to announce the 2019 Champion Carnival bouts, with 13 contests being officially announced.
As previously reported the Minimumweight bout will see defending champion Shin Ono (23-9-3, 6) [小野 心] defending his title against Norihito Tanaka (17-7, 9) [田中教仁] on January 12th at the Korakuen Hall.
The Light Flyweight bout, to fill the recent vacancy left by Tetsuya Hisada (33-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也], will see Kenichi Horikawa (38-15-1, 12) [堀川 謙一] battle against Satoru Todaka (9-2-4, 3) [戸髙達], with this bout set to take place on February 14th, also at the Korakuen Hall.
The Flyweight bout, like the Minimumweight bout, had already been announced and will see Junto Nakatani (17-0, 12) [中谷 潤人] and Naoki Mochizuki (15-3, 8) [望月直樹] fight on February 2nd at the Korakuen Hall. This bout is to fill the vacancy left by Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之], who like Hisada has stated he intends to fight for a world title in 2019.
The Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-4, 10) [奥本 貴之] will defend his title on April 21st in Osaka, and will see Okumoto battle against Yuta Matsuo (15-3-1, 8) [松尾雄太], in what will be Okumoto's second defense of the title.
The Bantamweight bout will be a unification bout as regular champion Yuta Saito (11-9-3, 8) [齊藤裕太], who has been suffering from illness recently, battling against recently crowned interim champion Hayato Kimura (28-10, 19) [木村隼人]. There is no set date on this bout, but it's expected to take place in Tokyo, with the Korakuen Hall the most likely venue.
The Super Bantamweight title will have it's vacancy filled on January 12th, on the same show as the Ono Vs Tanaka card. Fighting for the title will be Mugicha Nakagawa (24-5-1, 14) [武田勇太] and Ryoichi Tamura (11-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一], who will be looking to follow in the footsteps of former champion Shingo Wake (25-5-2, 17) [和氣 慎吾] who looks to be heading towards a world title fight, like Hisada and Kuroda.
Arguably the best match up for the Champion Carnival is the Featherweight bout, which will pit Taiki Minamoto (16-5, 13) [源大輝] against Reiya Abe (18-2, 9) [阿部 麗也], who will be battling former amateur stand out Daisuke Sugita (4-0, 3) [杉田大祐] in January before facing Minamoto on May 1st at the Korakuen Hall. This is, to us, the stand out bout of the Champion Carnival and is genuinely a mouth watering clash.
The Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (18-1-1, 11) [末吉 大] will take on Ken Osato (15-2-1, 4) [大里拳], in a rematch of the bout the two men had during the 2018 Champion Carnival. This contest will take place on May 4th at the Korakuen Hall and will see Osato looking to avenge his loss and Sueyoshi looking to repeat his win over Osato.
The unbeaten Shuichiro Yoshino (9-0, 7) [吉野 修一郎] will be making his 4th defense of the Japanese Lightweight title, as he takes on the challenge of Accel Sumiyoshi (11-4-3, 3) [アクセル住吉]. This bout is set to take place on April 11th at the Korakuen Hall.
Another bout that really whets the appetite is the Japanese Light Welterweight title bout. That contest will see champion Valentine Hosokawa (24-6-3, 11) [細川バレンタイン] defending his belt on April 6th at the Korakuen Hall against Koki Inoue (12-0, 10) [浩樹井上] in a mouth watering step up for the challenger.
We'll see attention turn to Osaka for the Welterweight title bout, as Ryota Yada (18-4, 15) [矢田良太] defends his belt against Yuki Nagano (15-2, 11) [永野祐樹]. This bout is set to take place on April 21st, though the specific venue wasn't announced.
The Light Middleweight title bout will see Nobuyuki Shindo (20-4-2, 8) [新藤寛之] defending the title against Hironobu Matsunaga (14-1, 8) [松永 宏信] in what should be a thrilling contest between a very hungry challenger and an under-rated champion. These two will clash at the Korakuen Hall on May 1st, as a double header with the Minamoto Vs Abe bout.
On March 2nd we'll see Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登] defending his belt against Shuji Kato (10-1-1, 6) [加藤収二], in what will be Takesako's second defense. This will also be at the Korakuen Hall.
At the moment the full details of who will be showing what bouts is unclear, but we're glad to now have most of the matches set, with dates and venues.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today at the EDION Arena Osaka fight fans got the chance to see a Japanese Super Flyweight title bout. the bout saw defending champion Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-4, 10) [奥本 貴之] taking on the unbeaten Masayoshi Hashizume (16-0-1, 10) [橋詰将義], in what was Okumoto's first defense and Hashizume's first title bout.
The two men had sparred a lot on their familiarity showed as they looked to win the battle of jabs early on. Hashizume was the first to break away from that and began to up the pace. Okumoto went with the challenger, and started to show his better control of distance, though he was the slower man.
Ater 5 rounds the judges scorecards were all over the place. One card backed the challenger, 49-46, whilst Okumoto lead on the other cards, 49-46 and 48-47.
Hashizume began to raise the tempo again in the second half of the fight, and seemed to hurt Okumoto with a body shot in round 7. Okumoto battled back though and used his jab excellently before being dragged into a war in rounds 8 and 9, with men really digging their feet into the canvas and going to work. Hashizume then mixed it up again by taking the final round by boxing smartly, and it was one of the very few rounds all 3 judges agreed on.
At the final bell it seemed like both men had a fair argument for the win, though the judges struggled to split them, scoring the bout 96-95, to Okumoto, 97-93, to Hashizume, and 95-95 leading us to a draw.
At the final bell it seemed like Hashizume had more reason to be annoyed, he had regularly unsettled Okumoto, landed the better blows and had dictated the tempo and distance better. With the draw he stays in the mix, but will have to wait for a second shot, as Okumoto will need to make a mandatory defense in the new year against Yuta Matsuo(15-3-1, 8) [松尾雄太].
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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